This was the view from the back deck of The Hide-A-Way, a cabin perched in the Smoky Mountains where Frank and I spent several weekends getting back to nature and into mischief in Gatlinburg, TN. This structure and the surrounding forest were completely destroyed by the recent wildfires. I penned this poem after our first stay at this special place.
Embraced by the mountains and sky,
Watched over by the oak and pine,
Befriended by the hawk and owl,
The cabin looks calmly down at the forest below.
A powerful peace resides here,
Always eager for visitors,
Especially the young and the young-at-heart.
Flowers stage a fragrant rebellion and taunt the honeybees.
Laughter plays hide-and-seek with the July fireflies.
Leaves tell stories of mountain men and star-crossed lovers.
Snow keeps secrets told by dreamers beneath handmade quilts.
In all seasons,
The cabin whispers,
“Welcome to the Hide-A-Way,
Make certain to enjoy your stay.”
If you’d told Jane three words would destroy her life, she’d have guessed they might be “You have cancer” or “You’re under arrest” or “President Elect Trump.” She would have never pinned it on this particular trio. Nor would she have thought her demise would occur on Thanksgiving, the most wholesome of holidays.
When the doorbell rang that morning, she’d assumed it was her parents arriving early. Instead, she found her neighbor on the porch with a condescending smile and bouquet of fresh-cut peonies. “I thought you could use some cheering up.”
"Why?" Jane was more curious than concerned.
“You don’t know? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.” Celeste’s twinkling eyes told a different story. “There’s no easy way to say this, but—”
Next, came the three words. Then, Celeste took out her crystal-encrusted cell phone to offer video proof.
Not knowing whether to panic or pray, Jane opted for both.
Why is this happening? I’m a good person. Right, God? I attend midnight mass on Christmas, donate to the ASPCA, and drive a hybrid. Oh Lord, please let my boss never see this…or my mother…or Patrick...especially not Patrick.
The whole thing began the previous day with a coupon, craving, and subpar plastic. Sav-A-Mart was offering turkey for ninety-nine cents a pound and carried her all-time favorite pumpkin pie, so despite it being across town, Jane went.
It was a delightfully uneventful trip, right up until she left the store. That’s when her shopping bag broke sending the turkey on a collision course with her left foot. The initial pain was rapidly replaced by absolute anger—blind fury that Vesuviused in a molten string of obscenities.
Nearby, a woman piling sturdy, reusable totes into the back of a Volvo abruptly stopped, glared, and covered her toddler’s ears.
This only bolstered Jane’s wrath. She reared back and kicked the frozen fowl. It went wobbling across the parking lot. Then, like a deranged soccer star, she booted the Butterball all the way back to her car. But just before reaching the SUV, she miscalculated the turkey’s trajectory, tripped over it, and splayed onto the pavement, dumping her pie in the process. Instead of attempting to get up or regain composure, Jane burst into sobs and began scooping handfuls of gravel-specked, pumpkin custard straight off the ground and shoveling it into her mouth.
By the time she saw the kid filming on his iPhone, it was too late.
“What came over you?”
Jane just gave a silent shrug, but she knew the answer.
Perimenopausal rage. It’s a real condition.
Celeste shoved the flowers in Jane’s direction. “As of an hour ago, the video had been viewed five hundred thousand times.”
Jane didn’t know whether it was the cloying scent of the blooms or immensity of the number, but she nearly vomited on the spot.
“It’ll probably be up to a million by dinner.” Celeste smirked and again uttered those three wicked words, “You’ve gone viral.”
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.